New American University in Baghdad to Train Future Iraqi Leaders

The new ‘American’ university of Iraq-Baghdad (AUIB), which opened in February, will focus on training the next generation of leaders in Iraq by offering the American model of education in the country.

According to, the university, which is a private and non-profit institution, was established by leaders of business, education, and government in Iraq and the United States.

The university has around 300 students, the majority of which are already taking English lessons at the university’s English Language Academy, whereas on the campus, there are restaurants, a bank, and vegetable stalls. At the same time, an American fast-food chain, Hardee’s branch, as well as a movie theater, are expected to open in the upcoming days.

The university’s president, Michael Mulnix, said that the institution aims to fill the gaps in education through different ways, noting that they are also planning to establish a medical school with a 200-bed teaching hospital, while pharmacy and nursing laboratories are also expected to be finished within four years.  

“This model is new to most Iraqis, as they used to directly start their majors. At the American University of Iraq–Baghdad, they will spend two years studying psychology, sociology, philosophy, world history, and other topics before starting their major,” he said.

Three out of 14 colleges planned to open have already started offering courses, which are:

  • The College of Arts and Sciences
  • The College of Business
  • The College of International Studies

Five other colleges, including the Colleges of Health Sciences and Law, are expected to open during the fall.

Mulnix said that the Arts and Sciences college was not difficult at all to open as some of its laboratories, including those in biology, chemistry, and physics, were established earlier, adding that university leaders are doing their utmost to offer brand education and liberal arts in Iraq.

The associate professor of history at the American University of Iraq–Baghdad, David Putnam, said that the course he will lead would provide knowledge on how the ancient civilization in Iraq contributed to the European and American cultures.

“Western Civilization is taught in all American colleges and universities, but I’ve designed this class specially to focus on where and how Europe and the Americans became what they ultimately became,” Putnam said.

The new American University of Iraq–Baghdad is located in the Al-Faw Palace complex. The latter was built by the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and then used by US forces as a military center.

Two American universities were established in Iraqi, Kurdistan, after the 2003 US-led invasion, which include one in Sulaymaniyah founded in 2007 and another one in Duhok in 2014.

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